CLARK, NJ - Chris Herren, a former NBA player, spoke to the Arthur L. Johnson High School student body and faculty recently. Herren's presentation was sponsored by the Clark Drug Alliance. Ralph Bernardo, Director of the Alliance, introduced Herren to the crowd.
Herren is a motivational speaker, sobriety advocate, and author who has a history of drug abuse. Herren spoke to the high school students about his addiction and how he has overcome it so far. He spread awareness to the students and faculty on the dangers of substance abuse and the first steps toward living a sober life.
More specifically, during this assembly, Herren discussed the effect of addiction on the person and the family members, bullying, peer pressure, and many other topics. ALJ junior, Katherine Fitzharris, thought that “his story was mind opening” and that “it’s hard to grasp that addiction and substance abuse can truly happen to anyone”.
Herren detailed how he first began drinking and doing drugs around age 14. His stellar high school basketball career earned him a spot on the coveted McDonald’s All America Team. He then attended Boston College on a basketball scholarship but was expelled for repeatedly failing drug screenings. He went on to play for Fresno State, then professionally for the Denver Nuggets.
“It never seemed enough for me, drugs and alcohol were always in the picture,” said Herren. His life was nearly ruined and ended by repeated overdoses and felony arrests. After one overdose in which he was pronounced dead for 30 seconds, Herren entered an intensive rehabilitation program in 2008 and has been clean ever since.
He now devotes his time to the Herren Project and Project Purple, both aimed at reaching high school students about his experience with addiction. He has spoken to over one million people including many major sports teams including the Yankees and the Celtics. Still, Herren expressed that the most important speaking opportunities are to high school students.
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